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2006-10-25, 03:59
I've moved four miles to the northeast of where I used to live. I still live in Brooklyn but now in a neighborhood called "Bedford-Stuyvesant". The map shows it as being "Ocean Hill" for zip code 11233, but no one around here seems to use that name.

The bulk of the moving has already taken place, with a truck rented one day for the big stuff, and the smaller stuff being moved by way of car. Surprisingly I was able to fit a lot of things into our car the Kia Sportage and move many things taking several trips. The back seats fold down so that it becomes like a station wagon.

It came about because my thirty year old landlady got married in July and then got pregnant. She was a Chinese lady living with her mother and sister in the first floor of a 2-family house. She met her husband on the internet. I always thought she was a lesbian because she had no boyfriend. And maybe she still is a lesbian.

I got a fateful email from her dated September 8 of this year in which she said that we had three to six months to move out due to her pregnancy and desire to move into our apartment. Well that was a bit of a shock after we had lived at the old place in Kensington 11218 for 8 years. Though her allowing us such a long period of time to look for a new place was a good thing.

Fortunately Tata is as well connected in the bricks and mortar world as I am in the internet, and she knows someone who is friends with a real estate agent who found us some good places. Bedford-Stuyvesant is a neighborhood which is mostly Black and has nice old buildings called "brownstones". It is for Brooklyn what Harlem is for Manhattan. The wood floors are very nice.

I like the new neighborhood better than the old one, which had many Muslims, Russkies and Polaks. In the old neighborhood they often showed some types of racism towards my family. I feel at home more here even though as a White person I get more stares for being a minority. But I've never really fit in anywhere I go anyways.

I have to back track a little now and tell you that my wife Tata is both a difficult and phenomenal woman. She is independent and is difficult to live with. But also she has a lot of great qualities. I think sometimes she is too bitter and looks at too much of the bad things in life so that she misses the good side. In that regard she is not so different from her grandmother Tata from Mali. Don't underestimate the power of genetics on someone's personality.

After Tata's miscarriage in 2000 she was talking of us splitting up. For a few months she slept in a separate bed after we got into a fight. But eventually we went on to have two daughters over the next five years. So I've often been skeptical of her talking of us splitting up. I just figured it was something that she would get over. And as someone who was in love with her, I just couldn't turn off the love like a faucet is turned off and walk away from her, even when I was the only one in the relationship who cherished it or spoke well of it.

I think Tata snapped on January 22 when her mother died. Suddenly she introduced new changes in her life and in the household. The first thing was a cat into the house, even though I was pretty much opposed to getting a pet. And then in the beginning of Summer she decided she wanted to go back to school to get her Master's degree. That left me being the one to take care of the children until she came home late at night. And she came home late every night it seemed, either because of school or because of being busy at work. Well that was all unpleasant but it didn't cause me to walk out of the relationship.

I got an email from Tata dated 2006-07-07 that wrote the following:

July 7th, 2006


I have tried to talk to you about this but was not able to because we always end up arguing. I have decided that it was time for us to separate and follow through with it. Our current life is unbearable. All we do argue, not talk to each other and then take care of the kids. We live through the kids otherwise we have no connection. I don't want us to get to the point where we hate each other. You are very important to me and I don't want to start a war where we end up hating each other. I cannot continue like this. I am not trying to blame anyone or any situation. I do not even know why we ended up here. For all I know, it could be all my fault but that's not what I am interested in right now. No blame game.

I would like you to help me in this process and make it as smooth as possible for the sake of our children. Here is what I propose based on what you have said in the past:


1. Practical Issues

Keeps this apartment
Keeps the Kia
Keeps most of the furniture in this apartment
Keeps car seats

2. Kids

Stay with you from 5 PM to 8 PM 3 night a week
During the week end, they stay with you on Sunday or Saturday based on your preference.
They stay on your health insurance
You purchase all equipments related to them because you know those things better. (car seat, bikes etc..)

3. Financial Issues

$150 for Oumy
You get half of the credit card loan
Separate our bank accounts.
Separate credit cards
Give me 1/3 your retirement or pay 2/3 of my school debt. Why? Because I did not save for retirement for the first 6 or 7 years of our marriage.
Separate cell phones


Practical Issues

Get an apartment.
Eventually get a car but not in the near future.
Get a cell phone


6 PM to 9 PM two days a week until I finish school
Stay with me Saturday or Sunday depending on which day we agree on.
They spend the night with me until you change your shift.

Financial Issues

I buy a metro card for Oumy.
Half of the credit card loan.
1/3 of old school debt or 1/3 of your retirement.
I buy the kids clothing

Suggestions for the two of us

Change your shift to accommodate this change
Tata also gets an apartment in the vicinity of this one
Let's stay as flexible as possible and collaborate as much as we can when it comes to decisions regarding the kids.
Announcing this decision to the kids and relatives to be done jointly.
Visiting relatives for the kids to be done freely whenever one of us needs to.

Time line

1. Vacation still on? Let's try to enjoy it since it is most likely our last one as a family.
2. I will aim for October or mid-September as a move out date.
3. Tata gets a job closer for availability.
4. No divorce yet until we figure things out.

Let me know what you think and maybe eventually we can sit down and talk about it without arguing.



Tata loves to write things down because that creates reality for her. And she sometimes prefers to communicate by way of writing rather than speaking to a person. It is good because she is a reasonable person when writing, but she is unreasonable when talking.

When I got this email from her over the Summer it was depressing. But I'm also used to it after being in a relationship for her for 11 years, and it doesn't shock me or upset me much. I thought it was more hype of hers and I brushed it off.

But then the landlady told us on September 8 that we had to move out. And when I told this to Tata she said that we had to move out to two separate apartments. So that was pretty upsetting to me because I was being forced into a situation that I didn't want to, and Tata's hype had some real repercussions to it. Again maybe two weeks later in September I asked Tata if she was still intent on us finding separate apartments and if she had changed her mind, and she affirmed her intention for us to separate.

It's not that anything new happened, but that because the landlady forced the hand of Tata, all her hype became reality. And now Tata and I live in two separate apartments in the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Tata is not completely delusional and had the good sense to get us both apartments near each other. I live .9 miles away from her now.

Now here is the arrangement that has occurred despite what was written in that July letter. On a work night, the children stay at Tata's house. The baby sitter reports there in the morning at 08:00. She prepares them and gives them breakfast. Then she takes both of them to Saffronia's old school for pre-K from 1235 to 1500. That train ride is about 50 minutes for a track distance of 8 miles. Then she takes them back to my place where I usually get home at 1630. We hang out at my place and eat dinner. At about 2000 I bring the kids back to Tata's place and wait for her to get home. Then when she gets home I leave to go to my own place.

We are sharing the usage of the car still. It is for moving the children back and forth, and for shopping. Tata is not demanding independence on some things as she did in the letter. We have separate bank accounts but the car is shared, and I still pay for the cell phone. Some things are better shared because they are cheaper that way. For example her cell phone number is just $20 extra a month; but to get one on her own would be $50 a month.

I feel bad for the baby sitter having to go so far, and for my youngest daughter Leilani. I tried to convince Tata to put Saffronia in a closer school so it would be better for all parties, but she thinks the quality of the school is better at the old place. I disagree because it is only pre-K and the ratings are for the upper grades of the school, which is up to grade 5. How bad can pre-K be in a crappy school? I don't fear it at this point as Tata does. So now I am at am impasse with moving Saffronia's school, because Tata only wants to move her into what she thinks is a good school. But by way of our two new addresses, neither default school is rated to be good. To go into another school besides the default one, requires a waiting list. I don't have a problem with a bad or questionable school rating, but Tata does. She says she wants the best for Saffronia. Yet Saffronia doesn't want us to separate. So what kind of bullshit is that on her part, to pick and choose what is good for Saffronia based on what Saffronia wants just some times?

You see, I was reluctant for Tata and I to separate. For one I still loved her. And also for the children, and for practical reasons in which it would be harder for us to be separate. And I gave it my all to keep us together. But now that we are apart, I am rather enjoying it. I am enjoying the lack of Tata's packrat clutter and the cat hourly tipping my garbage over.

How I see it is that if Tata was right in leaving me and going on to a better life, then that was a good move for her. But if she was wrong and miscalculated, well then she doesn't deserve me for throwing away such a good thing. So either way I am happy with what happened and I think it was a good thing. And I don't regret the eleven years I had with her in a relationship.

I am always going to have a relationship with Tata because she is my baby's mommy, and I have two daughters with her. For that I am blessed.

2006-10-30, 00:53
Man, writing everything down like that in concise legalese seems kind of clinical and cold. Maybe your wife is a lesbian and has hooked up with the Chinese landlady.! It seems to me that 2 people who are intellectually bent are inevitably headed for divorce. People who are brainless and who never debate anything seem to have low expectations and stay married for life. (nicobie excluded) ;) And Bed-Stuy has a reputation as a lowlife ghetto. New York has always struc k me as a place that lowers people's standards, as in "I got a great 1 bedroom in a ghetto for only $3000 a month. Boy did I luck out. Too bad there's a hole in the wall and no roof, but still..."

2006-11-01, 00:16
Life's a bitch and then U die.

Wishing you the best of luck 'lurkie.

2006-12-07, 03:34
I said I was sorry to hear about you and Tata in another thread but it was because of this part...

"I am always going to have a relationship with Tata because she is my baby's mommy, and I have two daughters with her."

Those girls will always love you in a way that only daughters can love their fathers. It's unique and no one else can have the relationship with those two that you have had and will have. When I read that, it made me sorry to think you wouldn't be able to see every single moment of their lives but then...you and Tata deserve lives, too.

and you know what, e? After I got all done being all blubbery and teary about it and calmed the heck down I thought...I've seen quite a few pictures of you and your family but I have never seen her smile. Maybe she does but my mental image of her is an almost angry look always and maybe it's because my nature is just not an angry one but seems like that kind of angry look on the outside means there's angry inside. and that can't be easy to live with.

wishing you peace and yep, some happiness if you can find it. and I'll bet you can. Might take a while or maybe not, maybe you already found it with the garbage not being upended every hour...sometimes it really is the little things.